Daniel Thomas: Revolution#21

Five sandpapery jams from drone artisan Daniel Thomas, dry and austere soundscapes which are absorbing and fine-grained nevertheless.

The title track kicks things off with a forlorn pulse, like a mechanical alarm slowly running down, as dubby, Burial-style beeps echo across our hearing. Meanwhile metallic clouds of noise gather on the horizon, like a baying mob coming slowly closer.

‘Injunction’ continues this ominous vein, its machine drone and irregular rushes sounding like a vast mother ship hovering over a beach as black waves crash onto a ruined shore. Hurry up please, it’s time.

The drone bleeds over into the next track, ‘Two Halves’, the first of two pieces that clock in at just over 15 minutes. ‘Two Halves’ is bare by even these standards, a series of whirring oscillations crossed with a jagged synth tone that drills into my forehead like a … well, like a drill, before handing over to the full-on assault of ‘Twitch’.

Almost as long as the track which precedes it, ‘Twitch’ sees Thomas going all Industrial Revolution on our arses, conjuring up an aggressive, jackhammer sound that wouldn’t be out of place in some textile mill in late 19th-century Lancashire. I feel like donning a smock and petitioning for better working conditions – for the little ones in particular, especially seeing as they’ve lost most of their fingers and arms on account of them having to do the repairs while the machines are still running, like.

I grew up in East Anglia. We never had the Industrial Revolution.

Ahem, anyway, after all that, the sawtooth Doppler shifting hum of ‘Rooftop’ comes as somewhat of a relief. ‘Rooftop’ is abrasive, sure, but weirdly trippy too – a result, probably of the queasy, undulating roar that pervades the piece – and is a fittingly unsettling way to end the album.

I like this record. There’s a variety in tone and sound that’s not always found on these types of abstract, drone-based releases. It is caustic, alienated and rasping – but also with a detailed thickness to it and a hypnotic, immersive quality. Thomas is consistent in conjuring up swirling storm clouds of sound throughout but he never repeats himself. It’s well worth checking out, as is ‘Codeine’, Thomas’ recent release on his own Sheepscar Light Industrial label, which offers up a more sullen and malevolent take his signature sound.

Get Revolution#21 here.

Get Codeine here.

Cherry Row website: http://cherryrow.blogspot.co.uk/

Sheepscar Light Industrial website: http://sheepscar.blogspot.co.uk/

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